the banisters, heralds of a joy that
never was to be hers.
Half an hour later she entered
Renti's. And her heart leaped as she
saw the well-remembered figure, sol
itary at the far table among the
lights, in the midst of the gay crowd.
And the years that were past seemed
like a dream to her.
He did not even start when she
approached him, threw back her
cloak and sat down facing him.
"Nina, I dared dream that you
would come to me," he said. "I willed
it with all my power."
"I had to come," answered the girl.
"I could not start on the new life
after I got your letter without let
ting you know "
"What?" he asked gravely.
"That I loved you in the old days,"
she answered. "I should not be say
ing this, but my marriage is not of
love on either side."
"And you will go through with it?"
"Yes," Bhe answered.
He looked at her In approbation.
"You never were a quitter, Nina," he
They dined together. It was as
merry as in the old days, for they re
solved to banish all care or resem
blance of the present evil from their
hearts. And he told her of his suc
cess and of his friends; some mar
ried, one dead, one traveling abroad.
After the meal he lit a cigarette and
they sat closer together, heedless of
the passage of time.
"I 'am glad to have seen you,
Nina," he said at length. "We had
a good time together. This will re
fresh my memory to carry it with me
the rest of my days."
Shfe looked at him Inquiringly. "Do
you mean to say, Jack, that you still
care as much as that?" she asked
He nodded. "But it's all right, my
dear," he answered. "The tfme to
fight was five years ago. I lost you
then I deserved to lose you."
She was thinking very hard. The
Incredible thought Went through hdr 1
mind that if she stayed here, if she
Just stayed with Jack, whom she
loved, nothing could ever harm heri
nobody would even know. If she
stayed " T
She glanced at the clock and was
horrified to see that it was midnight.
She sprang to her feet in alarm.
"I must go, Jack," Bhe said.
He conducted her gravely from the
restaurant. They were the last tft
leave. The yawning waiters watched
them reproachfully as they went out.
The street was brilliant with revolv
ing signs. Crowds hurrying from the.
theaters blocked them. There cam$
the sound of music from the restau
rants arid the voices of the diner&s
"It was happy," said Nina wistfully;
"Yes," he said. "I shall see you tq
your door, Nina." '
She looked at him in alarm. "No!,"
she said. "I must go softly, Jack. I
must steal in. I'can get on a car and
then get off in front of the house.
He took her hands in his, and at
the vory last he lost his self-control
"Stay with me, Nina," he whis,:
pered. "Stay! You have no one you
care for. Be my wife. I can't Io4
you now, Nina. Will you?"
The temptation was terrible. Sh
fought it down silently before she
could answer. .
"Only, Jack, I never was a quit
ter, as you said," she answered. "It
wouldn't be honorable that's all.1;
He let her hands go and she turne
away. Then a newsboy came racing
along the street ,
"Great fire!" he yelled. "All abou
the Suffitt fire!" j
The headlines made her reel. Sh
snatched a paper from the boy's
hand. The Suffitt house was blazing.
The fire engines were unable to con
trol it. The entire block was threat
ened." There was no further word be
tween them. She sprang on a car and
Jack took his seat beside her. Bui
many yards from the house the cars
were blocked in the jam.
The house was a blazing ruin. Mail
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